< Rickey Kids

Balancing Act

Park Avenue @ 53rd

Breaking Column III, 1993-2001, Stainless steel


About this sculpture

This artwork shows a column, broken into pieces that can move separately. A column is an upright post, usually rounded and made of stone or concrete, often supporting a building. George used what he knew about weight, gravity, force, and motion to make this heavy metal sculpture balance and move.

Kids Questions

How many pieces of the column can you count? How do you think the broken column stays up? Balance on one leg and stand straight; now move your body around. Which is sturdier? Why might George have designed a breaking column?

By George!

Watch this video showing George’s son, Philip, talking about another version of this sculpture as it is being put outside on display.

Rickey At Home

Make your own balancing sculpture with everyday objects around your house!

  1. Gather objects from your kitchen, office, and art supplies. You will need: 
    • A sturdy base, for example a jar or cup filled with sand or rocks.
    • Things of different shapes and sizes that you can balance, such as spoons, pencils, and small toys. 
    • Connecting pieces, like wire from a hanger, paper clips, and heavy tape.
  2. Make a stable base.
  3. Insert a tube or pencil as your center pole.
  4. Now, use wire and tape to attach your pieces to the center and each other. You will need to try different ways to balance the pieces. Your adults can help you look online for ideas and inspiration. 
  5. When your sculpture is done, blow it or gently push it to make it move. Take a video to share with your family and friends!